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News Story

FBI Denies Freedom of Info Request to Company About it’s Spyware for Cell Phones

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Is a company entitled to know if the software it produces is being used by the FBI?

The FBI says No.

Carrier IQ, a Mountain View, Calif.-based tech company, aggravated many when news got out that it had installed tracking software on millions of peoples’ cell phones without their knowledge, and that it was capable of recording large amounts of user information including sites visited and even passwords entered on secure sites. The information could be sent to the cellphone carriers or Carrier IQ.

On Monday, it was announced that Carrier IQ’s  Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI was denied.  The company wanted to known if the bureau was using its software to gather information or manuals or other materials it produces.

The FOIA request was filed Dec. 1 by Michael Morisy, co-founder of MuckRock, a website that helps people file FOIA requests with the government, according to Computerworld.

The bureau responded by saying that, while they had documents pertinent to the request, releasing them would endanger ongoing investigations.

“What is still unclear is whether the FBI used Carrier IQ’s software in its own investigations, whether it is currently investigating Carrier IQ, or whether it is some combination of both – not unlikely given the recent uproar over the practice coupled with the U.S. intelligence communities reliance on third-party vendors,” Muckrock wrote on its website.

Muckrock said it  plans to appeal the FBI’s denial for the material.

 

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST:

 

FBI’s Preemptive Tactics Questioned in New York Terrorism Sting

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Were the Newburgh Four really intent on perpetrating terrorist attacks on US military planes and the homes of wealthy New York Jews?

A report by the Guardian on Monday questions the “ethos” of  FBI investigation that led to the conviction of the four suburban New Yorkers that were jailed for 25 years earlier this year from a 2009 plot to shoot down U.S. military planes and blow up Jewish targets.

An FBI operative, Shahed Hussain, coordinated, planned and even pushed the four men repeatedly to participate in a plot they were reluctant to join, according to the Guardian.

The four men were impoverished and desperate for money, and Hussain had offered a staggering $250,000 for their participation. One of the men was so mentally affected his apartment was littered with bottles of his own urine. Further, Hussain had a long criminal history which he sought to avoid punishment for by working with the FBI.

“The case will question the new ethos of the FBI, which, since the terror attacks of 9/11, has focused on pre-emptive prosecution,” writes the Guardian.

The lawyers have appealed the conviction.

To read more click here.

 

Former Secret Service Official Endorsed as Next Sergeant at Arms

istock photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A former top Secret Service official has been endorsed by Republican Rep. John Boehner as the next Seargeant at Arms, in charge of protecting all lawmakers, congressional staff and visitors to the Capitol Complex, reports the Hill.

On Monday Boehner recommended former Assistant Director for Administration Paul Irving to replace outgoing Bill Livingood as House Sergeant at Arms. Livingood, also a former Secret Service official, plans to retire in January. The job includes overseeing the U.S. Capitol Police.

“Paul Irving’s 25-year career in the U.S. Secret Service earned him the strongest possible recommendations for this important post,” Boehner wrote in a statement. “His high level federal law enforcement experience, including a number of assignments working closely with the Congress, will be invaluable to the House.”

To read more click here.

FBI’s Most Wanted Man in Houston Surrenders

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s most wanted man in Houston has turned himself in, reports the local ABC affiliate. The bureau had posted billboards with the man’s photos just days before.

Patrick Simmons is a suspect in a bank robbery where a Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy was shot, according to ABC, putting him on the Houston FBI’s most wanted list on Thursday. Simmons turned himself in on Sunday evening at the FBI Houston office.

The 27-year-old and a group of eight others were said to be heavily armed when targeting banks, usually inside grocery stores–at least eight of them since August of 2010.

To read more click here.

Column: Money Laundering is Not Gun Running

Anthony Macisco has over 30 years of extensive leadership and management experience for agencies in the Departments of the Treasury (USSS Executive Protective Service and US Customs-Investigations) and Homeland Security (Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Investigations), in investigations and intelligence fields, in both a covert and overt capacity. Tony is currently a partner in The Densus Group, an international consulting firm that specializes in public order management techniques for foreign and domestic government agencies.

Anthony Macisco/sec debrief photo

By Anthony Macisco
Security DeBrief

It was recently reported that Congress is launching an investigation into the Drug Enforcement Administration, following claims that the agency helped drug cartels launder money – an operation some in Congress say bears striking resemblance to the failed “Fast and Furious” anti-gunrunning probe.

While most of America is appalled at the “Fast and Furious” operation, myself included, money laundering investigations are a completely different, proven and accepted investigative technique when conducted properly.

Long-term covert money laundering investigations have been around since the early 1980s when the U.S. Customs Service Office of Investigations conducted one of the first successful investigations known as “Operation C-Chase.”

It was one of the most successful undercover operations in the history of U.S. law enforcement, and the evidence gathered during the investigation proved critical to the conviction of General Manuel Noriega.

To read more click here.

 

FBI Called In to Help with Local Paramilitaries

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Local authorities in southern Mississippi have contacted the FBI for help investigating a paramilitary group known as the Savior Unit, reports the Hattiesburg American. The group is comprised mostly of teenagers and young adults.

Michael Shaun Schaffran, the 32-year-old believed to be the group’s leader, and Cody Jacob Rogers, 18, were arrested after breaking into a mobile home on December 6. In the arrest local police seized an operation manual of the groups which promoted “Christ, helping law enforcement, doing community service, reconnaissance, infiltration, apprehension and ‘retrieval,’ according to the Hattiesburg American.

Schaffran’s wife said police have the wrong idea. They’re just a bunch of kids trying to do good and stay out of trouble, she said. The break-in was in response to a perceived domestic violence at the home, which Schaffran and Rogers went to correct.

To read more click here.

What’s in a Name? Ask Blackwater

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Blackwater, the controversial security contractor that got in a whole lot of legal trouble for its deadly cowboy antics in Iraq, is trying once again to  scrub clean that bad image.

First it tried by changing its name to Xe Services LLC. But inevitably most articles included the phrase “formerly known as Blackwater.” Now, the company will try it again.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Virginia based company on Monday will unveil a new name once again along with logo. The name: Academi.

The Journal reports that Ted Wright, president and chief executive, said he will try to make Academi more “boring,” the Journal reported.

In April, a federal appeals court reinstated the federal criminal case against a group of Blackwater security guards charged in Washington with manslaughter and weapons violations for their alleged roles in a shooting in Baghdad that killed more than a dozen civilians, according to the Blog of the Legal Times.

 

Number of Drug Tunnels at the Border Dramatically Increase Under Mexican President

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A crackdown on drug smugglers has resulted in a dramatic jump in the use of sophisticated tunnels under the Mexico-U.S. border, Reuters reports.

Reuters reports that authorities discovered more than 100 tunnels during President Felipe Calderon’s five years in office. That number is double the ones found over the previous 15 years.

Reuters reports that the cartels have been perfecting the way the tunnels have been built.

The more sophisticated tunnels have hydraulically controlled steel doors, elevato and elecric rail tracks and are built with expensive drilling equipment, Reuters reported.

“It’s evident that those who constructed these tunnels are specialists, not only for the size but also because it requires study of the soil to prevent it from caving in,” General Gilberto Landeros, a Mexican army commander, during the recent discovery of a Tijuana tunnel told Reuters. “The machinery they use for construction is really sophisticated.”